Townsend, Tennessee - Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, East Tennessee and Western North Carolina

Welcome to the Fishing Report from the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is overcast and 63 degrees in Townsend this morning.  Traffic was fairly heavy at 8:00 am when I drove to work.  By heavy I mean, I might have seen 25 vehicles on the road.  Steven had a crowd at the Parkway 66.  Not only do they have extraordinary chili dogs, they also serve a great breakfast at a bargain.  The people who work there are nice too.  That’s why they always have a crowd there.  Being nice to customers is a good business tactic.

Little River looks very inviting.  That’s where I should have gone yesterday.  Flow right now is 401 cubic feet per second (cfs) or 2.5 feet on the flow gauge.  Median flow for this date is 76 cfs.  The water temperature is 62 degrees.  The river is running clear.

We got some rain yesterday, all day.  It only amounted to .80” in our gauge here.  The river rose some and it is still at the high established yesterday.  At 2.5 feet, some people think that is high.  Other anglers like it that way.  We take beginner students on the stream at 2.5 feet but not above that.  With all the hoopla about the brown trout staging, 2.5 feet will appeal to those who target the big fish.  The water temperature is perfect.  I would go today if I could.

I would consider today to be a nymphing day.  I would use a tandem rig with something like a Prince Nymph on one end and a Tellico Nymph on the other.  Not because I know it would work, but because I am curious, I would use an articulated rainbow trout baitfish fly.  That’s because I am tying those like a madman right now.  I would certainly have a Girdle Bug in my fly box ready for action.  Dry flies may work well too.

We are in the midst of an unprecedented set of Fall fishing conditions in the Smoky Mountains.  I do not remember ever seeing sustained water levels like this in the Fall or late Summer.  On top of that, water temperatures are awesome.  If this trend continues, we will have an exceptional Fall fishing season.  If the trend does not continue, we’ll still have an exceptional Fall season.  The water table is brimming.

I expect the smallmouth bass fishing is red hot in the lowland rivers and tailwaters. It was good before we got this rain yesterday.  We could have some stained water further downstream in Little River or the Little Pigeon.  I don’t know because I didn’t leave the Metro Townsend area yesterday.  The rainfall was never pounding the ground at least not at our house.  It was one of those slow soaking rains.

I had two days off this week.  I spent the first one tying articulated baitfish patterns and resting.  Paula and I planned to fish a tailwater yesterday in our boat for stripers.  Well, it rained all day and we called the trip off.  Maybe I’m getting soft in my later years. 

Spending the day in a boat with rain falling on you continuously is just not my idea of a good choice when the other is staying home tying more flies.  In an open boat, you can’t just walk to your truck and seek refuge from the rain for a while.  Driving back to the ramp or marina in the rain gives your face a beating during the final moments of your fun day on the river or lake.  You can’t squeeze in a nap on the boat when it’s raining.  I did that at home successfully both days.

I have been tying baitfish fly patterns using Enrico Puglisi EP fibers for at least 12 years.  I’ve tied threadfin shad patterns that work very well for bass and trout in tailwaters and lakes.  I’ve tied tarpon flies using EP fibers.  Tarpon ate them up.  I have a saltwater pinfish pattern I tie using this material.  It looks just like a pinfish.  I’ve caught redfish, speckled trout, flounder, ladyfish and even sheephead on these flies.  Baitfish patterns tied with EP fibers look real and the fish respond.  If I could only have one fly, it would be a EP fiber baitfish.

Lately, I’ve been using this new Minnow Wrap material to tie articulated flies called the Game Changer.  I definitely cuts down the time involved in tying baitfish patterns.  The end result looks great.  I like trying new stuff.  The problem is, I’ve been on a tying binge,  and I ran out of Minnow Wrap.  To make matters worse, the store is out too.  I ordered more last Saturday so we should be replenished soon.

Since I didn’t have any more Minnow Wrap and had plenty of tying time on my hands, I pulled out some Puglisi EP fibers and used them as a substitute.  It took more time using the EP Fibers.  But, to me, the flies looked great, maybe better.  Keep in mind, learning to tie with EP Fibers is frustrating at first.  But, right now I’m stoked at the way these flies turned out.

I tied some that probably took about 2+ hours each.  The batteries in my Clear Cure Goo light died so I switched to 5 minute epoxy.  That requires more waiting time.  Something else I tried was using one long articulated spine tied to a Gamakatsu #1 B10S stinger hook using a loop formed with heavy mono. 

Then I attached that rig to another hook like the first one and kept on tying.  The end result was a tandem baitfish pattern that was about 6 inches long and had the hooking potential of a Rapala.  Note:  This fly would not be legal in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  But for stripers or other big gamefish on a tailwater or lake, “Count me in”.  I’ll post a picture soon.

Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
September 26, 2013 

Respond to: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com


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